What does the American pagan practice of "Hallowe'en" (inherited from the Scots) got to do with the probably most important event in medieval history world-wide?
WATCH THIS SPACE!
(If you wouldn't mind, please leave this thread for me to complete as considerable research has being going on for several months, it would be greatly appreciated. I'll remove this line when done as there will be several posts more).
Recently I was involved in a study that ran for perhaps just under two hours, one morning a week for three months, and I was personally surprised at just how much I remembered from seventy years before!
The material is all available for download on the internet, and I'll point you, dear reader, to where you may download the fascinating historical detail.
Martin Luther was, indeed, the central figure and founder (in a major way) of the 1517 equivalent to Brisbane's break-away movement "Streetcar", he himself not setting out to destroy the "Samford Swamp" of that era. but to get them to admit their lies, false teachings and brutal behaviour to those who they believed were God's gift to them to bully.
That is fair enough comment viewed from where I stand albeit phrased that way to draw comparisons with modern cults which behave the same way. I'm not trying to be clever, a smart-alec. Please bear with me.
We need remember that the favourite punishment imposed on those who dared disagree with what is frequently referred to as "Holy Mother Church" was execution by being burned on a wood fire, until they had died, in great pain.
Wycliffe who translated the bible into the English language, and Cranmer, the English archbishop who supervised changes, were two such martyrs. Luther had a predecessor a hundred years earlier, a German by the name of Jan Hus who was similarly murdered for disagreeing with stuff that was wrong, incorrect, and a pack of lies. So Luther was a brave man - like many of you are for disagreeing with what you've been told is "Kosher".
It wasn't safe to disagree with the then "Samford" five hundred years ago, either!
Please read the stuff on the Lutheran Hour website, www.lhm.org or if you'd rather take in the two downloadable videos from you-tube (in mp4 format) they are very well produced and worth while watching. Do a search for links.
Look for a booklet called "The Reformation Twelve" - about twelve people who were essential to the timing of the start of the reformation.
Today is the day before "All Saints Day" - which was and is the day on which family and friends who have departed this life are frequently remembered.
It was on the day before All Saints Day exactly five hundred years ago, that Martin Luther nailed a handwritten list of ninety-five "torts" - wrong things - associated with just the first of a series of topics that needed to be addressed by the only church that existed in that era.
Tomorrow I hope to post the text of a sermon preached in a celebratory service two days ago about the start of the Reformation five hundred years ago. Please join me as I post some very interesting stuff over a number of days.
As we look around us, I think we'll see just how much we need the Reformation to go on around us. It wasn't over in 1517. Like the Johnny Walker Whisky, the bottle lable says "Still Going Strong"
“REMAINING STANDING UPON THAT WHICH REMAINS STANDING
THE POWERFUL WORD OF THE GOSPEL
THE TRUTH WHICH SETS US FREE”
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything” So what is the “something” you are standing for? Whatever it is we stand for, needs to remain standing. If it doesn’t, we will fall together with what we are standing on. We cannot stand up upon something which falls down. We need to be sure that it will remain rock solid, because if it doesn’t remain that way, then neither will we remain. “If you remain in my Word”, says Jesus, “ you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth….” (John 8:31, 32a) When all else falls, what remains is the truth. “Your Word is truth” Jesus prays (Jn17:17) If we want to remain standing then we need to stand upon that which remains standing. The prophet Isaiah paints a powerful image: “The grass withers and the flower falls, but the Word of our God endures forever” (Is. 40:8).
There are many good things in this world: family, friends, food, fun, fame and fortune. But like a flower they will all fall. They will not remain. If we make a stand for any one of these things in themselves, they will not remain standing till the end, because they are all fleeting and will one day fade away. Even religious rules, will not rule forever. Their reign will not remain. Those who make a stand for them will fall with them.
As it is today, so it was five hundred years ago - there were many people who were trying very hard to make a stand for something. In the sixteenth century, a whole system of religious rules were in place with the idea of “holding up the church” so that the church would remain standing strong. The problem was, that a church based on religious rules will not stand in delivering salvation, but fall under condemnation. These “spiritual impositions” included plenary indulgences which were supposed to make satisfaction for sins and help release people from a type of “penitentiary prison” called purgatory. This oppressive system of rules drew all its’ power from the people who could not stand up under the many rigorous demands. Therefore, they had no certainty or assurance of salvation.
For, how could they be assured they had ever done enough to make satisfaction for the sins they had committed after baptism? How much did they still have to do? What was left undone? The religious rules were drawing all the attention away from the work of the Lord, who Himself gives life and salvation, to the work of the people who could not fulfil the demands of the religious system. The “something” they stood for would not remain. It would not keep them standing, but it would in fact cause them to “slip up” and fall down time and time again.
Then comes along a man named Martin who tried to obey these same religious rules and, in fact, did a much better job at it than anybody else, but still failed miserably and fell into a pitiful heap. This did not occur, however, before this man became “Martin the monk”, and indeed, he was “the most monkish of all the monks”. As an Augustinian monk he enslaved himself to the most morbid acts of “monkery” and mortification, with flailing and flagellation and other practices of self imposed torture, all in order to please a “god”, whom he could never ever fully satisfy. What Luther stood for as a monk, failed him. It could not remain standing as his source and system of salvation.
Under the wise and loving oversight of his confessor, Johann von Staupitz, Luther began to see that repentance did come by means of trying to please an angry god, but it was God’s kindness which leads to repentance. (Romans 2:4b). There were a number of “gospel moments” when the powerful truth of the gospel broke through in Luther’s life. It is likely that one such major moment of revelation occurred sometime between 1518 and 1521 when Luther was preparing his second lectures on the Psalms and on Romans. No one captures the deep struggle and “riveting revelation” of the gospel better than Luther himself: “Though I lived as a monk without reproach, I felt that I was a sinner before God with an extremely disturbed conscience. I could not believe that He was placated by my satisfaction. I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God, and said, “As if, indeed, it is not enough, that miserable sinners, eternally lost through original sin, are crushed by every kind of calamity by the law of the decalogue, without having God add pain to pain by the gospel and also by the gospel threatening us with His righteousness and wrath!” Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience.
Nevertheless, I beat importunately upon Paul at that place, most ardently desiring to know what St. Paul wanted. At last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, namely, “In it the righteousness of God is revealed, as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live.’ ” There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which a merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.” Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.” (Luther's Works, Volume 34, P336-337).
In the spring of 1521, Martin Luther stood on trial for heresy before the Emperor Charles the Vth and before all the secular electors and the religious authorities of Rome and before a big crowd of loyal supporters along with some jeerers, at the Diet of Worms. The fact that Luther even came showed that he was confident to stand on the foundation Rock of Christ and his death and resurrection. This Rock would remain when the religious life based on the system of rules and regulations would fail and fall. Luther’s comment shows deep trust in his foundation: “Unless I am held back by force, or Caesar revokes his invitation, I will enter Worms under the banner of Christ against the gates of hell” This Luther most certainly did, and before Eck, the Archbishop of Trier, he was asked in the presence of the assembly, “Do you or do you not repudiate your books and the errors which they contain?” To which Luther replied, “Since then Your Majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of popes and councils – for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen. Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise” Luther spoke these words in German, the language of the common people. He then repeated them in Latin, the language of the Roman church. According to Roland Bainton in his book, “Here I Stand”, Luther then “threw up his arms in the gesture of a victorious knight, and slipped out of the darkened hall, amid the hisses of the Spaniards, and went to his lodging”
Luther’s stand was on something which will stand forever. The Word of God. He staked his life on this Word. Some years later, between 1527 and 1529, Luther wrote these words, “the Word shall stand despite all foes, No thanks they for it merit. For God is with us and bestows His gifts and Holy Spirit And take they our life, Goods, fame, child and wife; Though these all be gone, Yet have our foes not won,; the kingdom ours remaineth” These words are, of course, from the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God” one of Luther’s most famous hymns out of the 37 which have come down to us. As one who was known as “the nightingale of Wittenberg” , Luther highly valued the writing of Christian hymns. He was convinced that the singing of Scripture and its themes was one of the most powerful ways of remaining in the Word of the Lord.
“If you remain in my Word”, says Jesus, “you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31, 32) For the truth of the gospel which comes to us through God’s Word is the powerful foundation which remains when everything else falls. “Remain in my Word” can also be translated as “Abide in my Word” “I am the vine, you are the branches”, says Jesus. “Those who abide in me and I in them will bear much fruit”. (John 15:5) “If you abide in me and my Words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish and it will be done for you”(15:7) For Luther and for us, the powerful abiding Word is the Word of Christ. This is the power of the gospel. We cannot free ourselves by our own power or by our own rules. There is no other foundation in life, be it family, friends, food, fun, fame or fortune, which will remain standing to support us for eternity. Abraham’s descendants, the Israelites, were set free from slavery in Egypt through the Lord’s powerful act of deliverance, opening up the way through the Red Sea. In this way they were redeemed and became God’s children. We are set free as children of God in the Son of God who has opened up the way to God through His act of deliverance for us in dying and rising from the dead for us.
The truth of this gospel will remain, “despite all foes”. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel”, writes St. Paul the gospel, “it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith”. (Romans 1:16)
Next Tuesday, the 31st of October, will be the 500th anniversary of the reformation. It will mark the moment when Luther nailed the 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. It will also be the time and occasion here in Adelaide, when the Catholic Archbishop Christopher Prowse and our bishop of the Lutheran Church of Australia, John Henderson, will come together to sign a joint statement. The statement includes a focus on the truth of God’s Word and the gospel. These words are timely and significant: “The question the church faces today and into the future is about how we communicate the truth about God. The anniversary of the Reformation prompts us to reflect together on this question. It will require a renewed commitment to teach God’s Word…..In commemorating this anniversary, we commit ourselves to that ongoing renewal that will take us to the heart of the gospel. We commit ourselves to working with our ecumenical partners to re-discover the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ for our times…. We encourage all members of the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church to hear from God a call to be continuously transformed by our encounter with each other and to be witnesses to the power of the gospel”
It is for this powerful gospel which comes through the Word of Christ, that a man named Martin, stood up and remained standing upon the truth which remains standing also for us, now and forever. Amen.
Pastor Chris Gallasch
May we, as we spend a moment keeping in mind those we know, those we knew, those we know of, and those who we love, and loved in the past who since long before this date five hundred years ago were thrown away because we were thought "expendable" from our community by others who thought they were "helping God" run His church the way they thought it ought to be run - by punishing those who the oversight bullied, even murdered, and of course by unrelationally refusing to allow them to even communicate with us and our forebears.
We commit each of them to prayer before the throne of the one and only Almighty God, asking that we may not follow in the footsteps of those who wronged our loved ones in this way.
We also are sincerely sorry for our own thoughts and actions that may have contributed unnecessary hurt, realising that you already know these things, and have already forgiven our actions and thank you for that.
Of course we realise that like Corrie Ten Baum, we need to make it right by accepting the hand of those who have realised their need to add their "sorry" to us, and naturally pray for those who have not yet come to their understanding of putting right the wrongs they too have been involved in.
In this we remember the part of Jesus' "model" prayer where we say ...
"Forgive us our sins - as we forgive those who sin against us" - not just a contractual clause by which we can legally claim our right to be forgiven, but a guideline He, our God would like us all to live...
Years ago there used to be a hymn sung around this time of the year, which ran like this...
1. For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confess,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest,
2. Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
3. Oh, may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old
And win with them the victor's crown of gold.
4. O blest communion, fellowship divine,
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
5. And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
6. But, lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of Glory passes on His way.
7. From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
8. The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon, to faithful warriors cometh rest.
Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest.
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Heb. 12:1
Author: William W. How, 1864, cento
Composer: R. Vaughan Williams, 1906, arr.
Tune: "Sine nomine"
In the 1950's it was in what the Church of England called "Hymns Ancient and Modern"
The Lord bless each of us as we struggle with what we believe is God's will, remembering the words of what I used to think either John Wesley or his brother Charles wrote... but as often, I was wrong!... Wikipedia, that great fount of knowledge, tells us otherwise...
'Thine Is the Glory is an Easter Christian hymn, written by the Swiss writer Edmond Budry (1854–1932) and set to the tune of the chorus "See, the Conqu'ring hero comes" from Handel's oratorio Judas Maccabaeus,'
Hence the name "Maccabeus" for the melody/organ music.
Thank you for sharing these brief thoughts of mine which I believe are extremely important to keep in mind.
Where they fly backwards to keep the dust out of our eyes
I haven't read all of your comments above - and I do get frustrated when people post lengthy stuff on this forum which is not really what we are on about- but I did disagree with your comment above where you stated:
In my reading of church history Martin Luther was a purveyor of the truth that was found in the word of God. Yes, he went against the traditional RC church of the time and yes, it could be called a breakaway movement but to compare him with the heretical ramblings of the likes of Ray Jackson Snr - a philandering serial adulterer - and Vic Hall - the narcissistic meglomaniac is inaccurate. Martin Luther's legacy has been the establishment of a movement that has for the most part led people into the kingdom of God. Of course it has had its failings and foibles and divisions but generally it is still moving along generally keeping to orthodoxy and letting people live their lives without unnecessary interference.Martin Luther was, indeed, the central figure and founder (in a major way) of the 1517 equivalent to Brisbane's break-away movement "Streetcar", he himself not setting out to destroy the "Samford Swamp" of that era. but to get them to admit their lies, false teachings and brutal behaviour to those who they believed were God's gift to them to bully.
The legacy of the XCF group and RJ Snr and VH on the other hand has seen lives shipwrecked, families destroyed and preaching and teaching that at best is off the track but at worst is blatantly heretical. Martin Luther stood up against the heresies of the day; Vic Hall still preaches it and has entangled his deluded followers into a web similar to that which Luther got us out of.
He was very fortunate that like Jan Hus a hundred years earlier, he wasn't executed by being burned at the stake, done by the forerunners to the Samford crowd
I think what I am objecting to is the cred you are giving the XCF group -comparing them with a global organisation when they are nothing more than a small, not even national, religious cult. They are probably more like the Manicheans than the RC church and their behaviour would fit well with any fascist party.
Well put Wendy - spot on.comparing them with a global organisation when they are nothing more than a small, not even national, religious cult. They are probably more like the Manicheans than the RC church and their behaviour would fit well with any fascist party.
Gillie and Bagel both made very interesting posts under "Spiritual Abuse" if you go back to the front page of the site. They also have both continually recognised the uniqueness of the purpose of streetcar (this is version 3 by my calculations). and I fortunately was able to save a number of the posts of major version 2 threads for posterity as a result of the far-reaching unlawful effects of the destruction by the CF organisation, on two versions of streetcar - which obviously can not be restricted to just Australian territorial land mass because the internet being global.
It is generally well known outside of religious circles that the trauma associated with bullying matters not one iota whether a world organisation or a cosy little church group quietly wielding its muscles against congregants they wanted to control. It has been well explained, as I understand in streetcar version 1 (which I never saw as it had already been destroyed by Vic's helpers when I encountered version 2 in about 2016.
The amount of individual hurt experienced by those poor souls probably also reflected how little geographical identity would reduce the impact of that hurt. Ask Helen Pomery, as an example - and Helen I am sorry to bring it up again, please forgive me. But perhaps Wendy and Bagel might like to hear from you if I am right.
Being "right" - whatever that means - isn't the point, either.
Being a smart-alec is no better, either, than the attitude of the person pulling the strings, surely?
I was referring to the fact that Jan Hus was brutally murdered by being burned at the stake a hundred years before Luther saw through the Catholic heresies, and both he and Luther recognised the wrong-doing that was manipulating people and their lives. Did it matter that this was in the landmass that would later be unified under Count von Bismark as Germany?
Of course, not.
My series of posts did attempt to inject a little bit of humour into a serious point of history, describing an era where ecclesiastical leaders were bullying five hundred years ago. Global effect back then would be much like a parochial (parish) community in the 1950's, I'm sure.
Erudite posts in the past have pointed out that certain types of personal abuse are akin to murder of a soul (my paraphrase while typing).
So please, in the absence of a moderator responding to this thread, which I asked for and did not receive a response, accept with good grace the thought that this is a community thread, for a bunch of people deeply hurting over personal abuse, who have largely stepped away from seeing any influence of an all-seeing and all-loving God who created them.
I love each of you, my brethren, of both genders, but that does not mean I have to agree with failed, false logic in thinking. I remember a remark made by that well educated British prime minister, Winston Churchill when asked his opinion on particularly bad English grammar, when he said (quoted on "the wireless" "This is the kind of thing "Up with which I shall not put" !
That was another example of my sense of humour to take the edge off a scathing remark.
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